As many will have seen in the programme, the TRAC 2019 Plenary Lecture ‘De-colonising Roman Archaeology’ will be given by Dr Zena Kamash (Royal Holloway).
Zena has worked on a wide range of themes in Roman archaeology, including memory, water technologies, and religion (including as assistant director of the The Vale and Ridgeway Project). More recently, Zena has focused on how archaeology is presented to the public, particularly concerning post-conflict reconstruction in the Middle East, and this will be the subject of her lecture:
“What does it mean to ‘decolonise’ Roman archaeology? Can we? Should we? In this plenary lecture, I will explore these questions looking back to the history of Roman archaeology, as well as looking at our present and potential futures. With a particular focus on the Middle East, I will look at the biases and silencing of voices that were inherent in the narratives told about Roman archaeology at the origins of our discipline. Moving forward in time to the present day, I will explore how these narratives may have contributed to digital colonialism in the contemporary Middle East. I will, then, analyse datasets related to our current teaching and research practices that will demonstrate what work still needs to be done to create a discipline that is diverse and inclusive, acknowledging what steps have already been taken and pressing for commitments to action for the future. It is my hope that as a group we can use this as a moment to think openly and critically about a potential ‘decolonised’ future for our discipline.”
People who teach Roman archaeology are encouraged to contribute in advance to this discussion by completing this survey of their current teaching and curricula.
The lecture will take place on Thursday 11th April at 18:00-19:00 in the Colyer-Fergusson Hall, followed by a reception.
Zena will also be running Workshop 3: ‘Diversifying Reading Lists’, along with Dr Lisa Lodwick, on Saturday 11:00-12:40 in GSR2.
To find out more about Zena’s work, you can visit her blog. Additionally, she kept a separate blog for the ‘Remembering Romans Project’, which includes discussion about the reconstruction of the Palmyra Arch in Trafalgar Square in April 2016.